Bay Area residents at a Tampa Bay Express community engagement meeting Saturday voiced fears that the project will do more harm to their neighborhoods than good.
The meeting was part of a series hosted by transportation officials to discuss the $6 billion TBX project and to hear concerns from residents.
On Saturday, they encouraged parents to bring their children out to share what they like in their neighborhoods.
"We like to have them map their neighborhood, talk about what's in their neighborhoods, talk about things they might feel are missing from their neighborhoods," TBX community engagement facilitator Taryn Sabia said.
The TBX project would add express toll lanes near the Interstate 275/Interstate 4 downtown interchange. Florida Department of Transportation officials say it will relieve traffic congestion.
But some residents think it would do more harm than good.
"It’s destroying the urban core of our city, the most historic, wonderful, unique parts of the city that are in the middle of a resurgence and revitalization," Michelle Cookson said.
Others fear the project will destroy historic homes and businesses. They would like to see the money spent on mass transit and adding pedestrian and bike lanes.
FDOT officials said those concerns are on their radar.
"It's one of our top priorities as we try and identify connectivity and access for all the pedestrians and bicyclists in the area," FDOT's Chris Speese said.
Another FDOT community engagement meeting will be held Tuesday evening at the Seminole Heights Library. For more information: http://www.tampabayexpress.com/community-engagement/